Following my recent presentation at the Airbnb Hosting Festival in Melbourne, I had many people ask if they could look at the sample House Manual I brought along. This is a document I have developed over time as a template for all my properties. Here are my tips on what to include in a good House Manual.
The House Manual is the single most important hosting resource there is.
It should provide your guests with a reassuring source of information about your property, how to work the appliances and equipment, where to find things, emergency contacts, your House Rules, check-out requirements and information about the surrounding area. In short, everything to make the stay a great experience for both guests and the host.
A House Manual is a reference source, much like the White Pages (remember them?). Hosts should not expect their guests to read it cover to cover - it should be the source of answers for the many questions a guest may have and you should let your guests know that they should refer to it first before calling you. A well-written House Manual can potentially save the Host hours of time answering simple questions.
You may need to update your manual from time to time as you add information. For this reason, use a slip-cover folder with plastic sleeves, so you don't need to reprint the whole document every time.
Number the pages and add an index at the front to make it easy for guests to find the information they are looking for without wading through the whole document. See a snapshot of my index below
Make the House Manual visually appealing. If you are not good at formatting, consider getting someone to design a nice layout for you.
Update as new information comes to hand or you think of things that your guests might like to know.
Include interesting information such as the location of markets, public transport, discounts for local attractions.
Bear in mind that many of your guests may not speak good English. Keep the language simple and to the point, don't use jargon, use pictures & diagrams where possible
Add maps for easy way-finding. For instance, look up the nearest supermarket on Google Maps and copy & paste the image into your House Manual.
Following on from the last point, blow the map up, print & laminate it and attach it to the fridge so guests immediately know when they arrive where to go to get their groceries
Information to include:
Here is a snapshot of my own House Manual Index. You could use this as a template for your own.
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